Erin Kelly, Not Kelly

Grilled cheese 4 lyfe, right across the throat.

Feb 212024

A few months ago, someone asked the Pittsburgh subreddit to give them some good places around the city to use as family portrait locales. Of course you got all the standard “Mt Washington!” and “Randyland!” sincere answers.

But then some asshole (and I do mean that in the best way, like, totally my kind of asshole) had to go and say, “The Fruitopia machine next to the fire station in Brookline.”

You guys, the way this made me do the laughing version of the Slow Clap. Of course I walk past this fucking machine every single day too so now I look at it in a whole new light now.

Clearly I need to do a photo shoot there sometime early in the morning when there is less idiot foot traffic and Mike the Greek isn’t loitering on the bench next to it, with his stack of newspapers.

Feb 202024

Every so often*, I go through some boxes of old photos, always on the hunt for ones that I want to frame, post on here, share with family, rub in Chooch’s face (he hate hate hates my storied childhood, lol). I recently found this one of my aunt Sharon, me, and my Pappap posing in front of the Leaning Tower of Pisa back in 1989 and I knew I had to keep it out of the box because Henry and I were recently watching someone’s travel vlog in Pisa and I was questioning whether or not I ever went INSIDE the tower because when I googled, it appears that it’s been closed to the public for quiet some time.

*(Approx. 3x a week, honestly lol.)

So today I was inspired to dig out the ol’ vacation journal and see what 10-year-old me wrote (IN YELLOW INK, APPARENTLY) about this moment of my life, and it appears that YES, I did go inside the tower, phew, now I have something else to rub in Chooch’s face.

Anyway, here’s a little transcription of the super informative words I wrote on August 30, 1989. :/

TODAY IS GRANDMA’S BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and a google more. We went to breakfast and now we’re on the bus going to Pisa. We saw the Leaning Tower of Pisa after lunch. Me and Sharon walked up to the top. Well, not the very top. (Sharon was afraid to.) Then we finally ate lunch! Thank goodness (for Chef Boyardee). We ate at the turnpike.  Then we went to the hotel. It’s called the Hotel Cavalieri. Then we ate dinner with the tour. It was like a buffet. It was very good. I didn’t like desert [sic]. Then we went to Pappap’s room & sang happy birthday to grandma and had a mixed fruit strudel (fig newton almost). Then we went to bed.

WOW. I FEEL LIKE I WAS THERE ALL OVER AGAIN, DON’T YOU?? Drowning in detail over here.

Some thoughts:

  1. I prob thought I was tres cool for using the word “google.” I wonder if I had just learned it from Highlights.
  2. All of those exclamations were done in BUBBLE-STYLE, thank you very much.
  3. So…did we eat two lunches?
  4. I think by “turnpike” I meant that we ate at one of the really cool truck stop restaurants but I can’t think of the name now. Sharon used to love those places because if you bought whatever the “special” was, it came with a collectors plate.
      • According to that post, the highway restaurants were called AUTOGRILL
  5. Can you imagine Little Orphan Chunkie up there in that photo not liking a dessert?? What was it, dirty prunes?
  6. The Chef Boyardee shoutout, I probably was cracking up writing that. OK calm down Erin.
    • as if I don’t still crack myself up when I’m blogging, once a loser…etc.
  7. August 30th and I wasn’t in school?? This must have been back in the good ol’ days when school didn’t start until after Labor Day.
  8. WHAT ELSE DID WE DO IN PISA, ERIN?? I feel like we were there for a few hours. I have a vague memory of walking down a road full of locals shilling their wares and trying desperately (and succeeding a lot) to swindle tourists. I think I bought a coin purse?! Who the fuck knows, ugh.
  9. All joking aside, revisiting these days of my youth seriously brings me so much joy. I really miss my Pappap, and my grandma and Sharon even though they were often, um, pretty cruel and emotionally damaging to me. Ha ha haaaaaaaa. Ha. :/

I want to try and do this more often: post an old travel picture, find the corresponding vacation journal entry, and then see if I can remember anything else to add. Obsessed with documenting memories? Join my support group. It’s currently just me sitting in pile of journals and photos, wet with tears. If you bring donuts, I’ll brew the coffee.

Feb 182024

And by mini hop, I mean that over two days, we went to two cafes. Living recklessly, doin’ em up big, etc.

On Instagram last week, I saw this new-ish cafe from Greensburg called Cutie’s Cafe and while the name is kind of barfy, their drink menu was extensive, plus they have latte flights which sounded appealing. Plus, I thought it would be a…cute…belated Valentine’s Day thing to do with Henry. Or whatever.

Greensburg is about 45 minutes away from us in Pittsburgh but on a chilly February day, it’s not like we had much else going on. I’m always looking for a reason to take a mini-drive, since I spend pretty much every single day at home. Get me out of here, you know?

We arrived around 1:30 and right away, before we even parked, I could tell that it was going to be…cute…but also super small. Even on their Instagram, I thought it was CURIOUS that there were no pictures of the interior. Well, let me just tell you that it was, in fact, extremely small inside with very limited seating, but I didn’t really stick around long enough to get a good long look because I was immediately sucked-punched with a wack vibe that did not resonate with me at all. How can I explain this…it was as though we crossed the threshold into a real life VSCO filter, like Dorothy landing in Oz but everything is colored in the hues of PSL SZN with a SWEATER WEATHER overlay. And every single seat was occupied by Those Girls. You know the ones. They have Balayage, orange bronzer, NASHVILLE HATS. It was like we walked into a dressing room full of girls getting ready for a Taylor Swift bonfire.


When I say we were only inside for 2 seconds, I am not drawing from the hyperbole reservoir. We walked in, I stopped dead in my tracks after giving the place one good head-swivel, and said, “Yeah, I don’t want to be here. No thank YOU,” and we turned around and left. Not a single fuck given.

Usually, Henry HATES doing this but he was relieved. Like, so relieved that he couldn’t stop laughing as we walked back to the car. “No, I didn’t want to stay there either!” he said emphatically after I was like, “Sorry if that embarrassed you but that was not my scene at all and I couldn’t even try to hide my feelings.”

I guess we were both in the right mood that day though because instead of this making us argue, we rolled with it and found another cafe in a neighboring town (New Stanton) and had a nice, calm experience there with good drinks and an OK cinnamon roll (I’m sorry but Scandinavia and Finland spoiled me rotten in the subject of cinnamon rolls).

We had dead flowers on our table which I felt was symbolic of our current relationship status. (Old and shriveled, etc.)

I got a cinnamon latte and had big remorse after realizing that, AS USUAL, I managed to completely overlook the Specials. Henry got his first ever London Fog after whispering to me, “What is that?” He thought he was so cool.

We made the right choice, leaving Cutie’s Cafe. I found out later that they had apparently recently gone viral on Instagram and then were on Pittsburgh Live one day last week, whatever that is, some local TV thing I guess, so that explains it. There’s also a college in Greensburg (Seton Hill – Chooch actually applied there and was accepted but things are still up in the air on that front, ask me again later, etc.) so I guess they probably get a lot of college students there too. The crowd was….very overwhelming. I’d like to go back sometime once all the buzz dies down (& the Yinzer food ‘grammers move on to the next new fad) to see if their lattes are at least worth the hype because from my quick glance, the cafe’s aesthetics did not seem like anything special at all.

So, that was Saturday.

Today, I decided to walk to Potomac Station in Dormont. They’re always liking my pictures on Instagram and look – that’s fucking smart marketing. Appeal to my ego. More, more, more.

I’ve been here a handful of times and have never had a bad experience, honestly. Henry brought me an Earl Grey scone from there during my CHRISTMAS 2023 DEATH BED DAYS and it was so delicious. I love Earl Grey-flavored things! Anyway, I wanted one more sweet thing this weekend and was hoping they would have it again today.

Holy shit, we got there and it was PACKED. Luckily, there wasn’t a line or anything, but every single table and seat was taken. Some by assholes who were there alone but hogging entire tables for four while doing “work.” I was pretty bummed about that because after walking there in the cold, I would have preferred to sit a while.

But what really matters is that I got the Red Hot Horchata from their V-Day menu and it was F I R E. I love horchata so much to begin with adding red hots really elevated it to the next fiery level. I don’t know what Henry got. Some kind of iced coffee, I guess.

Then we came home and got sugar-sick after splitting a black forest cupcake AND a burnt almond torte cupcake. Henry is currently sleeping off his sugar coma and I’m about to close this laptop and stare at the wall for an hour or so.

Hope you had a good cup of something hot this weekend!

Feb 162024

Another boring-ass week of February. Let’s see if I can scrounge up five things from my extremely uneventful life.

1. RetroWaving from Pgh

“Hey Erin, what are you listening to when you’re not kpopping?” asks no one.

Well, No One! I’m so glad you asked because for the last year or two, my runner-up has been retrowave. It’s better than the next best thing to 80s synth because it sounds like it *is* 80s synth, but it fell through the cracks. It is reminiscent of the music that would pad the soundtracks of 80s movies like Better Off Dead, etc. – it sounds like it COULD have been played on the radio yet it never was and you never heard of it ever again.

That’s retrowave. It triggers memories of summer pool parties and seeing your crush at the roller rink on a Friday night, yet these songs didn’t exist back then. And this is my current favorite one, which has made me spontaneously cry on numerous occasions.

2. Baby Carat’s First SVT Album

Henry came home from work in Valentine’s Day with a hot pink gift bag full of Kpop! My cat Drew and I have recently become huge Carats after years of just liking them on the fringe and Henry is along for the ride. I didn’t even ask for this, or the NCT127 winter single! #blessed

I pulled my bias Jaehyun from the NCT album (on his birthday, no less!) and I got S.Coups, Jun, and DK in the Seventeen unboxing. I have joint SVT biases right now – Seungkwan and Jeonghan (remember this, Janna!!) – but there is so much to love about all of the 13 members so a Carat really can’t be disappointed. (As Drew paws away a tear triggered not pulling her bias The8, lol.)

Anyway, this song can be my reciprocal Valentine gift to Henry, I guess.


YOU GUYS OMG. Pam from our Coaster Crew trip called me yesterday after work and said that she is thinking of moving to Pittsburgh and asked if I know any realtors!! OH BOY, DO I! I happily gave her my brother’s contact info and he is so hyped to help her look for a house here! I’m also very smug about this because after the Coaster Crew portion of our vacation ended in August and I was in my “I MISS PAM” feels, Chooch sniped, “You know she’s never think about you again, right?”

In your FACE, Chooch.

4. Henry Being Annoying

 He’s been on a kick using these dumb emoji things and Chooch and I hate it. Tell him to stop.

5. It’s paczki time in Brookline

Yo I took this picture at one of the bakeries in Brookline Blvd back when I was into using toy cameras in 2008, wow I was so cool, what a hipster photog.

Anyway, it’s paczki season, bigly. Every five years or so I get the urge (I hate the word hankering btw) to have one but I’m always so underwhelmed. Like, it just tastes like a jelly donut to me? I saw a reddit subthread recently where the overwhelming majority said that Party Cake was the reigning champs of paczki. Well guys if that is the case, then maybe I’m just not the targeted audience for paczki because that is where I have gotten all my past paczki.

Thoughts? If you are local to Pittsburgh, do you like paczki and where do you get it?

If you are not local, is this a thing where you live too?

Could I Google “paczki regions”? Sure probably. But am I trying to bait people to comment? Absolutely.


Well, that’s all I got. I’m so bored!! It’s snowing, I’m doing an intermittent fast so I can’t distract myself with snacks, and I’m mindlessly watching travel vlogs on YouTube. What a Friday.

Feb 152024

I was reunited with these memories the other day when I was scouring my blog for vintage Barb stories and wanted to repost because I miss when Chooch was this age (10 or something who knows ask his mother) and October is always so nostalgic in general (and also my brain is on hiatus so I have nothing new to say but maybe tomorrow I will depending on how many cells regenerate during slumber.


This past weekend was one of those weekends where nothing super major happened, but it was just so pleasant and fulfilling that I want to remember it forever. So walk with me, and I’ll tell you all about it. If you feel a pain in your leg, that’s just me kicking you because you fell asleep.

FIRST, we went to lunch at the Interchange with my mom and brother Ryan. I was really excited because this was the first fall day that was chilly enough to have Henry and Chooch running for their flannels and beanies, and you guys — that’s my favorite version of them! We walked out of the house and I had a strong urge to go on a hayride or stir a cauldron of white privileged male blood under a full moon. TAKE ME, AUTUMNAL EQUINOX.

Anyway, lunch was great! I quit going over to my grandparents’ house near the end of August because I admittedly couldn’t handle it anymore (I was literally losing hair over it, no joke), so I’m glad that I still get to see my mom outside of that situation. And my brother Ryan! I have no idea why we don’t hang out more often, but every time I see him, I’m reminded of how awesome he is. We reminisced about all the haunted houses we went to as kids, and the time I took him and some of his friends to the USS Nightmare when I was 19 and they were all jerky middle schoolers. While we were in line, one of them pulled out a laser pointer and started shining it into the windows of the Marriott we were standing next to, and then some hotel guest picked up his LAMP and started shining it back at us.

“I guess you had to be there,” I said to Henry, who rolled his eyes as usual.

And then my vegetarian kid (holding strong since July with zero pressure applied from me, I swear!) ordered the vegetarian burger which was basically just a portabello mushroom, and told the waitress, “But I don’t want the onions, or the lettuce, or the tomatoes…..or the mushroom.”

“So, you want a bun, basically,” I sighed and told him to pick something else.

“Then I’ll have the veggie hoagie, but I don’t want….” and before he could finish un-ordering every single vegetable that came on it, I interjected and said, “JUST GET THE GRILLED CHEESE.”

So he got the grilled cheese.

Over lunch, I was telling Ryan and Val about how Chooch called Henry from the gifted school because he needed to know where Henry’s ancestors are from because they were doing a project in his multi-cultural elective.

“So Henry told him that he had ancestors from Serbia, but Chooch confused it with Siberia,” I said and everyone laughed except for Henry, who sighed, “Yeah, except that my ancestors are Syrian, not Serbian, so you’re both wrong.”

And then we laughed even harder because LOLOLOL Chooch and I are so ignorant when it comes to Henry.


Being ignorant.

The rest of the afternoon was, in all honesty, spent listening to the new Dance Gavin Dance record because when I obsess, I obsess HARD.

Later that evening, Lisa picked me up and took me to her friends’ house in Wilkinsburg for their annual Beerstravaganza, which is kind of similar to my pie party, but everyone brings a six-pack or growler of their favorite beer to share and it’s, you know, considerably more drunken. When we got there, Lisa had a moment of panic because she had a whole box of 12 beers and only wanted to bring in the required 6 bottles, but then she was going to look dumb carrying in a half box and OMG what was she going to do. I just stood there, looking at my phone, twirling my hair, spinning in circles like I do, when it occurred to me that she was having some type of crisis, so I casually suggested that she just take out six bottles and replace it with the six bottles I was holding, and then it would just be like, “Oh look, these girls combined their beers into one box of 12. Nothing to see here.”

Lisa kept going on and on about how brilliant I am (le duh) and how she would be able to use my now-empty beer carrier thingie to put her extra 6 beers in so that they wouldn’t be rolling all around the back of her car, and don’t you worry, I took this moment to bask in my ingenuity.

The reality of the situation is that no one would have even noticed if she rolled us with a half-empty box because no one was standing over  by the kiddie pools of beer. And also, probably because it wasn’t that big of a deal!

Nevertheless, always happy to be part of the solution!

That was incredibly boring. I GUESS YOU HAD TO BE THERE, HENRY.

(Henry is everyone. Everyone is Henry.)

I usually get super nervous when I go to a party (which isn’t often because I usually just say no; see: the part about me getting super nervous), but Lisa is like my social crutch. I’m not sure what it is, but anytime I go anywhere with Lisa, the old Erin comes back out. The Erin who hasn’t spent the last 15 years being stifled and put in a corner. So when we were sitting around the bonfire and Lisa said, “I have to go to the bathroom, do you want to come in the house with me?” I was like, “Nah, I’m good right here.

buy cenforce online no prescription

And that’s how I made friends with a girl named Jen (we’re having lunch on Tuesday!) and listened to Rob tell a story about peeing on OJ Simpson when he was a baby!

And I also imprinted on a guy wearing a Civil War jacket and apparently developed a taste for “sour” beers. I DRANK FOUR DIFFERENT BEERS, YOU GUYS! This is monumental. I’m not a beer-person. That’s actually how I was introducing myself to people: “Hi I’m Erin. I’m learning to like beer.” And everyone was super nice to me about it! #babysteps

Lisa came back out at one point and started to say something to me, but I was all, “Shh, I’m trying to listen to Rob’s story” and she was all, “…the fuck is Rob?”

It was a really great night and I’m glad that I went even though I’m unsure of beer and people. Thanks, Lisa!



After nearly a year, Chooch’s piano lessons resumed Sunday morning! His instructor, Cheryl, had temporarily moved to Asheville, NC (SC?) because she enrolled in some massage therapy program. We reallllly missed her and I was actually kind of worried that she was going to end up not coming back and we have to scour the city for a new instructor, and you all know how picky Chooch is. But yay, Cheryl’s back! She lives in Lawrenceville now, so after we dropped Chooch off, Henry and I killed time by strolling along Butler Street, which is his least favorite street in all of the land because hipsters.

Which is why it was so hilarious to me when he tripped TWICE on our walk, the second was so bad that he thought he broke his toe. Oh, god, how I laughed. That’s what happens when you walk with your nose all up in your phone, dumbass!

But yeah, he tripped in front of a whole gaggle of hipsters and they probably all talked about it later at their Dissecting Tame Impala Lyrics Over Cold Brew club.





This was inexplicably stapled to a telephone pole. I’m sure there’s a reason but who cares. IT’S A GREAT READ.

After an hour of leisurely strolling, we went back to Cheryl’s and I was prepared for her to say, “Hey, I could totally tell that this kid hasn’t plugged in his keyboard since his last lesson with me in 2015” because he totally hasn’t, that lazy bastard. But because it’s CHOOCH, GOLDEN CHOOCH, she was all, “Somehow, I think he’s gotten even better!?” and proceeded to praise his “natural ability” while Chooch stood smugly at her side.

Ugh, I’m so jealous of my own kid.

But seeing Cheryl again was a huge upside to the weekend!


After lessons, we went to lunch at the Abbey, which is across from the Allegheny Cemetery and used to be a funeral home, so basically, a sanctuary for Erin R. Kelly.


My favorite part though wasn’t even the food. We had just walked inside and the hostess asked Henry how many he had in his party. Right when he said three—and I swear this wasn’t planned—Chooch and I casually popped out from behind him.

The hostess started cracking up.

“Oh my god, I don’t know how you guys did that, but it was awesome!”

I’ll tell you how: it’s because Chooch and I are like Henry’s lemmings. We walk so close behind him that if he stops abruptly, we cause a complete human pile-up, like a G-rated Human Centipede. This is why he hates grocery shopping with us because anytime he turns around, he runs right into us and then loses his mind over it.

I can only imagine how circus-y it must have looked from the hostess’s vantage. MAYBE THIS SHOULD BE OUR NEW SIGNATURE ENTRANCE. Chooch and I can wear sequined gloves and pop out from behind Henry with jazz hands and deranged clown-smiles.

I’m into this.


We all got the brunch buffet (actually, Henry assumed this was what I wanted and ordered it for me when I wasn’t paying attention, but whatever). It was fine. I’m not a huge fan of buffets to begin with but the ambiance of the Abbey and the fact that the hostess saw us for the bright, shining stars that we are was enough to keep me from cyber-bullying them on social media.

Henry and I took longer at the buffet than Chooch did (because I require so much assistance), and when we rejoined him at the table, he was lazily sipping on OJ that he ordered on his own because he doesn’t need parents, and I don’t know why, but this image made me lose it. He just shrugged and took another sip.

Interestingly, one of the items on the buffet was vegetarian sausage gravy and biscuits which was amazing timing because at the bonfire the night before, they had real sausage gravy and biscuits which I could not partake in obviously so I just ate biscuits instead while wishing there was meatless gravy.

(OMG I forgot to mention that someone had made some BOMB PUMPKIN PIE OMG TAKE ME BACK.

buy tadalista online no prescription


(I had to get Lisa to cut me a slice though, because knives.)

During my second and final trip to the buffet (these things are huge wastes of money for me),  Andy Gibb’s “I Just Want To Be Your Everything” was playing overhead. Behind me, a man said (to his friend, not to me, shockingly), “I love this song, but I don’t know who sings it.”

Before Henry had a chance to clamp down on my arm, I whipped my head around and yelled, “Andy Gibb!” in such a way that it sounded like I was in a race to be the first say it.

Which, I was.

His friend laughed, and said, “Yep, it is” and then Henry stuffed me back under his thumb. He hates it so much when I butt into the conversations of strangers with ALL OF THE ANSWERS.

I can’t help it. If people are talking about music, my dog-ears activate.

We had just returned from a disappointing visit to Dave’s Music Mine, who did not have the new Balance and Composure on vinyl. I was standing around idly in the driveway while Henry cleaned out the car and as I went to walk away, he tried to give me some garbage to take with me.

buy zenegra online no prescription


“Take that with you!” he yelled as I let it fall to the ground.

“Nope!” I yelled back as I pranced toward the house. (Really, I pranced just to accentuate the fact that I’m too much of a princess to TAKE GARBAGE* INTO THE HOUSE.)

“TAKE IT WITH YOU!” he cried again.

“I don’t want to!” I yelled back, and then I noticed a guy walking down the sidewalk, laughing at us. You’re welcome for the free show, I guess.

*(Actually, it was the sign I made for the pie party — I didn’t want to carry that shit!)

The end. Classic sign-off. Killing this blog game.

Feb 142024

Can’t remember what I called the first half, but here are the next 10 books!

11. The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill

Three stars. This was entertaining but had just a bit too much going on. I thought it was interesting that it was a book-within-a-book but it also kind of made it clunky.

12. Night’s Edge (Night’s Edge, #1) by Liz Kerin

Three stars. A unique take on the vampire trope. Apparently, this is #1 in the series. Not sure if I was enrapt enough to continue.

13. The Naturals (The Naturals, #1) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

A really fun YA Criminal Minds-esque romp. Also, ANOTHER series but I’m not sure if I will continue. This was meant to be a palate cleanser so that I didn’t fall into a reading slump.

14. Paris: The Memoir by Paris Hilton

Five stars. Fuck yeah, Paris. This was waaaay deeper than I expected it to be. I know it might seem like a lie, but I have always admired Paris Hilton and it was horrifying to read her firsthand accounts of the horrific abuse she experienced at the shitty “schools” she was sent to during her teen years. She endured a lot. It’s proof that sometimes being rich and famous isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. I’m glad that she was able to not hold this against her parents but I honestly don’t think I would have been able to be so forgiving if this happened to me.

15. Finlay Donovan Jumps the Gun (Finlay Donovan, #3) by Elle Cosimano

First book was fantastic, second was eh, this was a slog to get through. The novelty has long since worn off, it’s not cute or interesting anymore, same-old, will not be continuing on with this series.

16. Life Ceremony by Sayaka Murata

Not usually a fan of short stories but I loved the other books I’ve read by Sayaka Murata so I took the plunge and so glad I did. The standouts for me were the title story, A First-Rate Material, and Lover on the Breeze which anthropomorphizes a curtain in a girl’s room (this one made me cry??? lol). I will read anything she writes.

My favorite review is from the author of the Heartstopper series, Alice Oseman: “Sayaka Murata says fuck societal norms! Start a family with your platonic best friend! Eat weeds you find in the city park! Make human stews to honour the dead! Have sex with a curtain!”

17. The Companion by E.E. Ottoman

Quick and boring read about a polyamorous, queer romance in 1948. I’m not its target audience so I hesitate to give it a more thorough review or a star rating, because really, it wasn’t for me! Writing wasn’t bad but what even was the plot?

18. Only If You’re Lucky by Stacy Willingham

2 stars. This was so bad. Boring, poorly-written, mistook it for YA – it’s not, and not a knock against YA but it just felt like this was written for high school girls. We are constantly reminded that LUCY IS JUST LIKE ELIZA, WHO IS DEAD IN CASE YOU FORGOT. WE DON’T KNOW HOW OR WHY YET BUT WE WILL EVENTUALLY FIND OUT AND WHEN WE DO, WE WILL ROLL OUR EYES. It was actually insulting how repetitive this one. It reminded me of the most recent Harlan Coben series on Netflix where we get FLASKBACKS anytime someone mentions something that happened several scenes ago. So fucking corny and cheesy, JUST LIKE THIS BOOK.

I have a lot of anger, clearly.

19. Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing by Matthew Perry

FML. I miss you, Matthew Perry. Everything about this is heartbreaking and yet still made me LOL numerous times. The amount of pain and suffering this man lived with. It is so depressing.  I do wish that it had been edited better. As a cultural icon, his story was an important one to tell and deserved a better editor.

20. Search History by Amy Taylor

A weird ending to a weird reading month. Three stars. Woman moves to a new city across Australia after her boyfriend breaks up with her, starts dating a new guy, finds out his ex-gf has died and becomes obsessed with scrolling through her Instagram, going as far as taking a class at the yoga studio where she taught and getting her hair done by her brother. Uncomfortable. Three stars.




Feb 132024

Saturday afternoon was pretty mild for February so Henry and I went to Highwood Cemetery in Northside after my Zenith lunch with Kara. I really liked the sweater I was wearing (it’s from Lala!) so I was like, “Take pictures of me doing stuff and don’t fuck it up.” Henry said, “OH BOY, MAY I??” because nothing makes us fight with more fiery fervor than photo assignments.

This day wasn’t TOO bad, though.

I usually just direct myself.

“What should I do? This?” I ask, noodling my limbs.

“Sure, Erin,” Henry mumbles with a Science teacher sigh.

“Let’s take a picture of our mustaches,” I cried, grabbing my phone from him.

“Wha–” Henry never has any idea what is going on.

Guys, in case you were ever curious where Henry’s infamous TED TALK about MOSS took place, it was at this cemetery, so long ago that Chooch didn’t even exist yet.

Moss is bad, just leave it at that!

The filter I used on this makes it look like I have on some sick lipstick. Also: “What should I do with my hands? This?”

“Sure, Erin.”

Literally SO SCARED the moment I jumped from the third step. THE THIRD STEP. Loves roller coasters, yet constantly being afraid of the most non-heights imaginable. I know this stems from being abandoned in a treehouse as a child!!!!

Anyway, I over-compensated in anticipation of a hard landing and somehow hurt my shoulder?!

I feel like my hair was v. similar to this when I was a high school year, too. Well, minus the grays lol.

“I can only hope you fall,” Henry said, forever jealous of my SICK balancing tricks.

“Do I look precious??” I asked through my fake smile.

“Mmm,” Henry grunted, managing to pack in a family-sized carton of disgust into that half syllable. Then he lost his balance and almost face-planted from a squat position. I WISH HE WOULD HAVE.

(I may have played a part in him losing balance.)


Anyway, here’s a 20 second collection of some of these live pictures, where you can see me, in real time, realizing the moment I jumped off the steps that it could have been the fast track to a broken ankle, tweaked back, etc.

We had a really nice weekend together so when absolutely nothing happens on Valentine’s Day, I’ll try to let this be a consolation. (LOL you already know that’s untrue – THIS BITCH IS GONNA THROW A FIT.)

Feb 112024

I was so happy when Kara texted me recently about making good on our mutual promise for a Zenith field day because I really needed something to look forward to. The first exposure to this pretty baby unicorn meatless treasure trove was in 2008 when Kara suggested going here and it has since brought me so many beautiful memories and household oddities.

I can’t believe it’s been THIS LONG since Kara and I were last at Zenith together! 2015!

At the very last minute yesterday, I found Henry lounging on the back porch, eyes glazed over as an effect of too many Instagram reels in a row, and I exclaimed, “Henry! I just had the BEST idea!” He slowly lowered his phone and looked at me, silent fear radiating from his pores. “What if you drive me to lunch!?”

He looked relieved, but then also annoyed because he had plans to just loaf around I’m sure.

I just really can’t deal with street parking anymore even though I knew it probably wouldn’t have been that bad given the time. It all worked out though because as we cruised past Zenith, I noticed a sign on the door that said CASH ONLY which was news to me, but then again, I haven’t eaten there since December 2019 according to This Old Blog. The pandemic really conditioned us to prefer take-out so that’s how we’ve been enjoying all of our Zenith meals ever since 2020. Anyway, Henry now had to drive farther down the street to GetGo in order to take money out. I told him I preferred small bills so He had to then try to get change by purchasing a cookie. He was SO STOKED to tell me that the cashier told him he could “just have the cookie” and he was like, “Oh, but I needed to break these bills” and she said, “That’s OK, you can still have the cookie.”

”Was it old?” I asked with absolutely no interest.

“No…she just liked me and wanted me to have a free cookie.”

“OK. Was she old?” I laughed in the style of a suburban Mean Girl, because I can’t imagine anyone else trying to hook Henry up because they thought he was cute or something.

“She was….Pittsburgh,” he said carefully.

Yep, that’s what I thought.

He kept trying to brag about it even still, maybe even make me jealous, but I had my tofishy blinders on so I really wouldn’t have cared if she offered to take him in the back, to be honest. Tofishy and Zenith bundt cake. Nothing else mattered.

Anyway, Henry dropped me off and probably called his mommy on the way home to tell her about his free cookie, while Kara and I were told to choose any table we wanted in the back room and of course accidentally chose the ONE TABLE that hadn’t been entirely cleaned off after the last diners. I didn’t even realize – I mean, OK there were some crumbs on my side, but I thought the pitcher of water and glasses were there for us. I came SO CLOSE several times to pouring myself a glass and was like WTF when the server came over and swiped the glasses and pitcher away from us – with an eye roll, according to Kara!

For the Zenith uninitiated, the tofishy sandwich is a fan favorite but only appears on the weekly menu a few times a year. They usually announce its arrival on Instagram with a ridiculous tofishy “commercial” – I was stoked when I saw that it was going to be available for our lunch date! It’s hands down my favorite Zenith menu item.

KARA GOT THE ZUCCHINI BOATS INSTEAD. At first, I thought, “Wow, that’s blasphemy” but then her boats arrived and I was like, “OK maybe I have regertz.” It looked realllly good! I failed to ask her if they were because we literally never shut up about life drama, our kids, KOREA. Of course, I realized as soon as we left that we never even got around to talking about books!!

Pretty sure the server was trying to speed us along, but Kara ignored the check that he was trying to put down and asked him what cakes were available that day. YESSSS. You can’t go to Zenith without finishing off with a slice of their famous vegan cakes. It’s part of the process. Sometimes I think about going there and JUST getting tea and cake. Why have I never done this!? A late afternoon tea & cake session sounds like heaven.

After lunch was “bathroom selfies and what can Kara try to get Erin to buy to make Henry frown” time, as per tradition. LUCKILY FOR HENRY, the “cash-only” policy made it so that I could not purchase anything without asking him to take out more cash for me, and we are only ONE WEEK out of the conservatorship, so I really didn’t want to go begging him for an allowance. UGH. I need to be better about carrying cash on me!

I’ve never seen this type of Christmas tree with bows and birds before!

Zenith is such a soothing vibe.

Kara urgently pointed out this dress for me to consider for the upcoming un-wedding and I have to admit, it sparked some joy in me but I don’t think I could stuff that in a suitcase! Maybe if our current plans don’t pan out and we end up doing a small ceremony here, I will have to inquire further, lol. Looks like Seamster Henry would just need to add some additional tulle to the bottom?!

I still love this bathroom so so so so much but I miss the OG blue.

We capped off the lunch date with Kara referencing hotdog costume sexcapades in regular indoor voice and not hushed tones, and I can only hope they heard this back in the kitchen because I imagine it gave them some pause, out of context and probably even WITH context!

Anyway, thank you, Kara for meeting me at our beloved Zenith for lunch – it’s always awesome catching up!

Feb 092024

Another month-long work week has come to an end! For this installment of Friday Five, let’s give our eyebulps (that’s how my cats say it) a rest, put a moratorium on the excessive words, and just look at five pictures from my phone with brief captions I guess.

See Chooch, on the phone with the bank after having to cancel his debit card for the third time since December. It was very entertaining for me because I have decided that I just don’t care.

Henry made “salmon” from tofu and it was delectable!

Cats suddenly realizing that they can burrow under the blanket on the church pew and acting super weird about it afterward.

The unseasonably balmy weather has allowed the cats to hang out in their favorite room of the house – the back porch!

Trudy being a saucy dish.


That’s all for me. Back to watching travel vlogs on YouTube because I have no attention span for anything more in depth.

Feb 082024

Remember when we were at Tivoli Friheden in Denmark and Chooch did the SCAD tower and I tried to get a good video but it didn’t really illustrate just how terrifying this dumb thing was?

Well, the creator behind Park Pros on YouTube was also on this trip with us and he posted a video of the process. I lowkey regret not doing this even though it still seems just as terrifying to me but I also feel like I would have been That Person to have found a way to land incorrectly and I’m sorry but my back is already old-lady-ish. The fact that you have to wear a back brace in order to do this scared me, lol.

I’m glad that Chooch did it though!

Anyway, I guess that’s all. It’s been another WEEK. Near the end of the work day, I messaged Megan and asked, “Tomorrow *is* Friday, right?” Shooooo.

Feb 062024

I’m kind of off to a good start for 2024, socially, having had plans nearly every week so far with friends. Two Saturdays ago, I met Wendy and Jeannie for breakfast at the Freedom Diner in Verona – I was trying to find a spot that would be centrally located for all three of us and it ended up being mildly more out of the way for me but I didn’t mind! I blasted a Seventeen playlist and enjoyed driving on a nearly car-free RT 28.

This breakfast was serendipitously planned (by ME, might I add) because it happened to be the day after we found out sad news and it was really therapeutic and cathartic to be able to meet up so soon after and take solace in each other’s company while getting the stink eye from our seasoned waitress in hot pink knee socks who was really doing her best to wordlessly hint that we were overstaying our welcome.

I had to photograph my meatless eggs benedict to send to Nate as a taunt because the weekend prior, he was screwed out of eggs benedict at back-to-back brunches, but then I never sent this to him because it seemed dumb.

I honestly can’t even remember what else happened that weekend. Nothing out of the ordinary, probably?!

Friday after work, Henry and I went to Shawn and Jess’s for dinner and games! Chooch was originally going to come along too but then his friends showed up at the house and kidnapped him. He had big regertz though because Shawn is his idol and mentor* and he was actually torn over who to choose, but his friends idling in our driveway definitely swayed his decision.

*(No literally – he needed a mentor for some school project he was doing and Shawn was his first choice. Apparently, I learned later, Chooch was GREAT at waiting until the last minute and messaging Shawn at like, midnight, to be like, “Hey so that one thing is due soon…oh, like tomorrow.” LOL wow. Great job.)

Anyway! Henry made a batch of GF brownies to take over, and Jess made vegan lentil soup that was sooooo good and filling! I also realized that I have more in common with their teenage daughter Anais than most same-aged friends, so that was fun. (We went to the same cooking school, evidently, of “just turn the stove up all the way to get it cooked the quickest” and we also cheer on the Team Microwave squad.)

I barely use BeReal anymore because I’m usually just sitting at home in sweatpants when I get the alert!

Before we knew it, it was 3:30AM!!! Fran, I can’t remember the last time I stayed at someone’s house that late!!! I mean, back in the day, people were always at my house super fucking late because I ran with a gang of vampires back then, but dang. I wasn’t even tired! Well, my jaw was, because I never stopped talking all night. I was divulging all these past traumas like it was NO BIG THANG and I could kind of feel Henry’s eyes on me, wondering if I took a street pill before we got there because my lips were so loose, they were dangling.

I guess I just really needed to talk about some of that stuff?!!? Lol ugh.

Saturday was a bust because we felt like we were hungover even though we only had 1-2 glasses of wine and that was way back in the beginning of the evening when we were eating dinner! I dragged Henry out of bed around 1PM (UGH!) and made him go to Homewood Cemetery with me, where I proceeded to cry because my new shoes hurt, and then I threw a fit as we were leaving because he was being weird about me wanting to buy something so I started screaming about how I make more money than him and that he treats me like Britney Spears like I’m in a goddamn conservatorship so he was like FINE YOU WANT TO SPLIT OUR MONEY UP FINE YOU’RE ON YOUR OWN! And I was like GOOD! And then after a pause I was like, “I WANT LUNCH” and he was all, “OH WELL YOU’RE OUT OF THE CONSERVATORSHIP SO GET YOUR OWN FUCKING LUNCH.’

The audacity!! I hate it when he tries to fight back! Anyway, I won and he got me WANGZ from ShadoBeni, yay!

Then that night, Janna texted me about a mini docuseries called KRISHNAS about all the fucked up shit that happened at THE PALACE OF GOLD in the 80s! I remember reading something about it, probably on Roadside America when I first “discovered” Palace of Gold as a tourist attraction back in 2010 or whatever, but I had no idea the extent of it.

Allegedly, it’s not a breeding ground for murder, molestation, grooming, racketeering and whatever these days so if you wanna go and get some bitchin’ food at Govinda’s Cafe after strolling through the rose garden and being leered at by the Dancing Acolytes, you let your girl know. I haven’t been there since 2019!

Sunday was OK. We went for another walk in the cemetery because it was actually kind of nice out – this time we went to Jefferson Memorial where we both have family buried and I talked about Barb and funerals and dying and then started panicking because we have NOTHING in order even though I have been on a “we need to make arrangements” kick for years. I obsess over these things.

Oh, and as I’m writing this, guess who had to cancel their debit card again because it was hacked again? This time PNC was calling me because someone was trying to use it at a volleyball, and unless Chooch suddenly is a romantic and trying to win back the affection of his not-gf with whom he’s already on the outs one month in by gifting her with some suck-up ice for her wrist, I’m going to guess someone got his card info. You know what? I don’t care. This is a Chooch Problem. (Which will be promptly reassigned to Henry lol.)

Feb 042024

I don’t know what happened in January but I blasted through a shit-ton of books. TWENTY to be exact! To be fair, one was a children’s book, but all the others were normal-length books. I was just on a roll, had some downtime, and the library was really coming through with a bunch of books that I had requested.

Here is the first half!

  1. Peaces by Helen Oyeyemi

My third Oyeyemi! I am going to be honest here, her books are a struggle for me to read because they are literary fiction for true academics. I am not an academic. But I appreciate Oyeyemi’s vocabulary, writing style, character creation, and world building. This book takes place almost exclusively on a magical train and centers around two guys on something of a honeymoon. I’m not sure that I fully understand any of her books, but I feel a certain way while reading them and I like it.

There. That’s my review.

2. What Red Was by Rosie Price

I believe I picked this book on a whim at the library, and I obviously liked it enough to rate it a 3.5. It wasn’t boring, it held my attention, it wasn’t poorly written. BUT I was a little confused about how the main character is raped by a relative of her best friend and it felt like we focused less on the main character and more on the family of the best friend.

And then there’s this strange scene where clues related to the rape and the rapist are displayed in a very public way, which at first I was like, “OH FUCK YEAH” but then remembered that the main character had not actually consented to THIS either. So, it just left me thinking about that for a while, how I would feel, etc.

Oh, my other gripe is that I believe we’re supposed to think that the best friend’s family is like, super interesting and well-to-do, Kennedys-esque maybe, but I just felt like they were whatever, nothing special, unremarkable.

3. Oksana, Behave! by Maria Kuznetsova

Oh, I really enjoyed this! Another one that I grabbed straight from the fiction shelf at the library, this one was based on that cutie cover, haha. This book follows the life of Oksana through a series of quirky and often poignant vignettes, starting with her move to Florida from the Ukraine as a young girl (7 I think?) with her parents and grandmother. The grandmother was the best part, IMO. Total spitfire!

4. Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Three stars. A failing marriage and magical landline to the 90’s. Sounds better than it was. I could have done without all the “talking to my two small daughters on the phone” moments. It got under my skin in a big way.

5. Several People Are Typing by Calvin Kasulke

Working from home and communicating with coworkers via Jabber all day, the concept of this book was appealing to me. But then the Slack messaging format just got reallllly old. There’s a quirky sci-fi element in that one of the coworkers gets stuck *inside* Slack somehow but no one believes him, and then a very unexpected romance develops.

I think this would have worked better for me if the blocks of messages were broken up but chapters of actual narrative too. Give us SOME non-Slack content. Character backstories. I DON’T KNOW, SOMETHING, ANYTHING!

6. I’ll Take You There by Wally Lamb

I thought that I had read something by Wally Lamb before but I guess not. This might not have been the best to start with, but I found the plot interesting – 60-year-old Felix gets visited by a ghost at the movie theater where he holds a movie night for the classics, is visited by the ghost of some silent film-era director and then replays some scenes from his past on the screen.

Through these visits and personalized films, he’s able to understand more of what his sisters went through back in the 50s as girls, and then later, as women. So, it’s interesting. It didn’t make me cry though so do with that what you will.

7. The Last Word by Taylor Adams

Dude. I didn’t like No Exit much at all—it felt like it was Christopher Pike book for junior high kids and not knocking that because I LOVED CHRISTOPHER PIKE BOOKS when I was in elementary school, but you know…I wanted a more mature book at the mo’. So it’s actually kind of nuts that I picked this one up but I’m glad I did because I really enjoyed it! Was the main character annoying? No. Did I feel tense? Yes. Do any pets die? NO.

This was a good, solid thriller. 4 stars. I even recommended it to Henry.

8. Natural Beauty by Ling Ling Huang

OK Ling Ling Huang. Thanks for making me legit gag numerous times with the body horror. Jesus. I really enjoyed this horror-twist on the beauty industry and beauty standards, what people will pay to cheat ageing and genetics, as well as the lengths corporations will go to profit from human vanity. Well-written, the visuals it gave me will haunt me for years.

9. The Skull by Jon Klassen

The aforementioned kid’s book. But to be fair, I used to read Chooch books illustrated by Jon Klassen but this was one was also written by him, it’s his retelling of a traditional Tyrolean folktale. Look at that cover!

10. Idol, Burning by Rin Usami

Just swap out Jpop with Kpop, introduce me to the stanning lifestyle when I’m 16, and I could have been the main character in this book. I think that’s all you need to know about this one, lol. I really enjoyed it.


So, there you have the first round of books I read in January.

Feb 032024

Hello from my couch on an actually sunny Saturday afternoon. I’m the only one here right now and it’s the first time all week that I have been alone with no distractions so the thoughts, they do be marching in.

This past week felt like it was a month long. It really did. There has been so much emotion-processing, Stages of Grief maneuvering, ugly cries, quiet cries, shower cries, subconscious cries, gluten free cries. So many kinds of cries. I’m still waiting on the Big Cry though because I can feel it building and I can feel the valve shuddering.

There was a small burial service and luncheon on Thursday for Barb. It was a very heavy day, also cathartic with a side of confusion, and it’s all really hitting me now. I am so grateful to be given the chance to say a final goodbye, and to be there in the company of some of my favorite people (and to also see some ex-law firm friends – DebSev and Kaitlin, that was a lovely surprise and such a comfort.). There were moments that felt straight-up surreal, such as when a photo slideshow played during the luncheon at Houlihan’s: the number of times I had the urge to turn and lovingly make fun of Barb only to remember that she wasn’t there…it was a huge emotional “ouch.” Like when you wake up from a dream where you were free-falling? That’s what it keeps it feeling like.

I did have a nice laugh with Jeannie and Aaron though as we perused the luncheon menu and I saw that there wasn’t anything meat-free I could choose from. “One last ‘eff you’ from Barb,” I said, and we all laughed. (No really, we did laugh! The mood had significantly lightened once it was luncheon time. And anyway, as Barb would always quote from Steel Magnolias: laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.)

When talking to Barb’s son and brother, I couldn’t even get any words out, just felt frozen with grief, so I smiled sadly and nodded a lot and then instantly regretted not saying the things I needed to say. I wore a necklace that she bought me years ago on Etsy and I wanted to point that out and say something that wasn’t just a canned platitude, like, “Barb was so special to me and had a huge impact on my life, and I know there are so many other people who share this sentiment” but – grief had other plans for my vocal chords I guess. I am so much better at putting my feelings onto paper. Or this dumb blog – which, hello, has been super helpful this week while Wendy, Jeannie and I try to remember things like, “When did we go to Olive Garden with Barb?” And I had forgotten that the four of us had met for dinner at Proper, July of 2019, so that may have been the last time I saw her IRL. I had previously thought it was 2018.

Apparently, Barb couldn’t read the drink menu that well because of the low lighting so the server brought her over a cup of “cheaters”. This picture cracks me up.

I want to always remember this too: at the luncheon, Barb’s brother came over to me at our table and asked, “Are you Erin Kelly? Boy, my sister really loved you. She talked about you all the time. You sound like a very….interesting…..person.” !!!! I started tearing up immediately and then he was too and it was the best peace of mind anyone could have given to me at that moment because these last few years, with her not being responsive to texts and invitations to hang out, talk, whatever, I really started to wonder if I had done something to push her away, if she didn’t like me anymore, if she would have been pissed to know that I was sitting there at a luncheon in her honor. The relief I felt was immeasurable.

I’m so thankful for all the memories I made with Barb over the years, for Barb inviting me into her life outside of work, and for being in the company of so many great friends who are also really going through it right now. Jesus Christ, Barb, if you’re up there milking wifi off some celestial cafe, sipping on an angel-made PSL (holla!) and reading this – look at the impact you had on us! Holes in our hearts.

Jan 312024

Ok after I told the story of Idiot Son and his slippery debit card that resides in his buttery wallet, I definitely realized that I’m not one to talk because I am forever misplacing my wallet. To be fair it’s usually in my purse but WHICH purse is the question because I have soooo many and swap them out constantly! In fact, I was almost late go breakfast on Saturday bc I couldn’t find it in ANY of my purses but then Henry found it in one of my also many winter jackets and I yelled “Oh yeah! From when Chooch and I walked to the cafe on Monday” which is sad because now you know that I only left the house once that week lol ugh.  Sometimes I am flat out losing it but, sharing Chooch’s bizarre luck, always finding it when I actually leave it somewhere  LIKE THE PALACE OF GOLD – a Hare Krishna compound in West Virginia- they actually mailed it back to me and didn’t even try to brainwash me into moving there!

(I might have considered.)

Anyway, I recently reread this one blog post from March 2018 because I’m a loser who reads her own blog ok? It was a Friday Five: Work Edition and one of the stories was about my missing wallet! Here let’s read it together.

I was having a pretty lowkey Friday morning when suddenly, I was nearly to work and realized that I didn’t have my work badge. So, already that’s a sucky feeling because it means you have to go to the security desk, hope they believe you when you say that you really are an employee and not just a recently-canned disgruntled employee back for revenge. But then you’re like, trapped within your department all day too, while trying to remember when you last saw it and if you should email Facilities now or later to report it lost and then be forced to pay for a new one, UGH.

But there was still hope that it was on my desk. I’ve done that many times, left my dumb badge-thing on my desk. But it wasn’t there!

So I went to the kitchen because I was on late shift the night before and I could vividly remember setting it on the table while I was washing my BIGBANG cup. BUT IT WAS NOT THERE.

Now panic was definitely setting in and here’s why: EVERYTHING IS IN THAT BADGE HOLDER. So much of my life is in there that I refer to it as my wallet but it’s not even meant to be a wallet, it’s a Pusheen ID holder and I shove all of my credit cards, my drivers license, my trolley ConnectCard….all of the shit I need everyday, in other words. And this was literally ONE DAY after I swore that I had to go back to using a real wallet after struggling to get my license out of it.

Well, good job Erin because now you’re going to have to get brand new cards to put in the wallet, I sadly thought to myself.

Todd works early on Friday so he was lucky to be there to watch my panic go from 0 to 60. And then Glenn arrived right when I was on a cleaning person-blaming tangent.

I couldn’t focus on anything. My ears were ringing and my face was flushed. Amber walked by and I blurted out that I lost my wallet.

“Oh, I’m sorry, that sucks!” she said.

“It’s OK,” I sighed, and then before she made it around the corner, I turned and shouted, “IT’S NOT OK!”

Cheryl told me to call Reception and see if anyone had turned it in. I was like “FUCK A PHONE CALL” and emailed instead, which got really fun when I reached the point of my email where I had to describe my wallet.

“It’s purple, soft, and shaped like a cat.”

It took AN HOUR for reception to email me back and say, “NO SORRY NOT YET.”

James the mailroom guy came around for the first mail delivery of the day. Before he even had a chance to say hello, I cut him off. “WHAT, DO YOU HAVE MY WALLET?”

“…” he answered nervously. So then I had to fill him in and Glenn and Todd were behind me, making the same eyes at James that elderly patients probably made at Jack Kevorkian.

“Did you check your desk?” he asked, and I was like “Yes duh” even though I only checked one drawer, twice. I just knew it wasn’t in my desk, OK?

OMG why was this happening two weeks before we leave for Korea? Another thing to stress about!

Lori came over to chat about nothing in particular. I let her finish while nervously squirming in my seat, and then I shouted, “I LOST MY WALLET.”

I heard Glenn sigh behind me, but I still launched back into the same story, verbatim.

“And I thought maybe I left it on the table in the kitchen…”

Then I had a thought!

Henry drove me to work that morning. When we were walking out of the house, I noticed that Chooch left his backpack! Luckily his school is right up the street so I told Henry I’d just jump out and run it in. Except that Henry wouldn’t come to a complete stop and I practically had to drop and roll out of the car, and in doing so, I forgot that my purse was on my lap and it fell into the middle of the street! MAYBE MY WALLET FELL OUT IN THE MIDDLE OF PIONEER?!


I started thinking about all of the times I found and returned things lost by others: someone’s debit card at an ATM, a wallet on the sidewalk which was luckily right outside the person’s house so I didn’t have to go far, Ross’s Blackberry (technically that was Henry, so me by extension), Jeannie’s work ID!! Maybe I had collected enough Karma for someone else to return my wallet to me!?

Later that morning, Henry had enough of my crazy lady texts, so he drove home on his break and TEXTED ME A PICTURE OF MY WALLET! It was at home that whole time! I had to immediately send an email to everyone in our department who suffered through my sob story and Glenn mumbled, “When’s the movie coming out?”

Then James came down later and I yelled over to him that I found it and he said he had said a prayer for it! MY WALLET IS SO LOVED. Wendy was walking by during this exchange and looked confused, and I realized that she didn’t know about my lost-not-lost wallet so now I had a reason to tell the story again! Todd and Glenn put their earbuds in.

Lauren was working late shift from home that day so she missed this whole thing. Luckily for her, she ended up having to come into the office that afternoon so I got to fill her in. She was like, “Wow. I’m sorry I missed that.”


Jan 302024


Over the years, I have written numerous tributes to my most favorite Barb to ever Barb. From birthdays to surgery recovery thoughts to work farewells, you can find so many “best of Barb” lists and fun facts and shout outs and, well, barbs.

But I wasn’t, am not, and will never be prepared to write one last tribute. So, we’ll keep this one short because to be honest, it’s hard to see the screen when your eyes are being blurred by hot AF tears.  Just know that this woman was more than just my “work mom,” or my “office bff.” No, our relationship transcended the confines of the office. She WAS my mom in all of the most important senses of the word. She was one of my best friends – not just at work, but in life. She was my role model, my confidante, the person who could make me laugh so hard that I would have to run to the bathroom at work and shut myself into a stall so people wouldn’t see me basically ugly-crying from the laughs.

It’s crazy to think that for the first nearly-two years I worked with her, our shifts only overlapped by 90 minutes, yet we managed to form a solid friendship right off the bat. I’m not exaggerating. I felt so immediately at ease with her that I very quickly put down my walls. She was the first person I shared my blog with at work because our senses of humor were so aligned that I knew it would be OK.

There were days when she would stay past her quitting time because I was going through it and needed someone to talk to. When I say that I wouldn’t have lasted a month at the law firm if not for her, I’m not joking. She was the reason I kept going in every day, took it seriously, and now it’s nearly 14 years later and I am still here, Jabbering people like, “Remember that one time Barb said…” what seems like every day, and teaching all the post-Barb people about her magical, larger-than-life presence.

Even my non-work friends know and love Barb. Henry’s mom asks about her every time I see her. She came to all of Chooch’s birthday parties, all of my birthday parties/dinners (even when they were at the roller rink!!!), Marcy’s memorial dinner, our Christmas parties, game nights, pie parties. All of my friends considered her a friend. Barb was famous in this circle.

I just hope that she knew how loved she is and always be, and that she is at peace. And, selfishly, I hope that one day I can be a Barb Riley to someone.

Bonus picture of Chooch saying, “Ghis wasn’t on my list!” after opening a present from his frenemy Barb, and then getting pissed off when he discovered that she also gave me A present at his birthday party. Man, I loved their fake feud.